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All the right moves

May 28, 2015

Issue 6
Vol 4

mtg_16

Life is starting to speed up and its getting scarey. I am having panic attacks about it. I sit in my bed at night and feel my heart pounding and my mind racing worrying that nothing will work out, nothing will go as planned. I watch people fumble through each day and watch as just about everything fall into place. I feel like I am surrounded by my phobias and doubts. I feel them reaching for me, demanding to be dealt with, demanding to be faced and feared. I don’t grit my teeth. Not this time. THIS time I relax and remember the Truth and my heart beating is only a drum beat.

Lets get started.

The Next Big Thing (Big ideas #1)

At first I wanted to blame this on the fact that I work with a lot of older people but I can remember my peers saying the same thing. Even as early as 8th grade there was this faux-intellectual cynic telling anyone who would listen why “the world/humanity/society/culture/whatever is doomed”. There seems to be some sort of appealing feels to being cynical and nihilistic about our future.

What these people do is point to all of the bad things they see in the world and claim that it is only the tip of the iceberg. That in a few short years that what we see, what we take for granted, will all fall apart. Not because its the natural order of things (another big idea) but because people now or worse than ever, society is in a tail spin and moral decay is far beyond our ability to correct it. When I was younger I used to grow worried but now I only roll my eyes.

The Toba Event. Have you ever heard of this? Talk about incredible. They believe that there was as few as 10,000 people left on earth (This of course would explain some genetic abnormalities that we find in the human genome). We have stadiums that, if they had just 10,000 people would be considered empty. More over the entire country is LOUSY with buildings that can hold that many people.

What about the Spanish Flu. I have head about this but I had no idea as many as 500 Million were infected all over the globe, and up to 100 Million people DIED. There was 1.8 billion people in 1915. So just over a 27% of the people on the planet were infected and 5.5% DIED. It wasn’t some new super virus it was our good old friend the H1N1 virus. So many people died thanks to a lot of help from WW1.

"OK...WHICH ONE OF YOU FUCKERS SNEEZED?"

“OK…WHICH ONE OF YOU FUCKERS SNEEZED?”

Can you imagine what would happen NOW if 500 Million people got the flu? Let alone if 100 Million people DIED from that? 1,260,000,000 would be dead if the same percentages were used for the 7 Billion people on this planet.

The world is more interconnected now than ever. We have technology that 100 years ago would be indistinguishable from magic. Hell this blog proves how far we have come in just 50 years. What ever the obstacles to publishing your words (in any fashion) they must have been higher for black men. Now look at what I do. Once a month (give or take) I write a poorly formatted, misspelled long form essay where I ramble about things in my life and I have the power, the ability, to share that with 7 Billion people. With all those changes the human condition hasn’t really changed.

We still need the same basics that every person in history has ever needed. We still have to eat, sleep and we still have the most basic desire to have sex. More over we still create, share, laugh and explore. Language, technology, culture and societies are all superficial and change quickly.

If there is one consistent that we over look and forget its that we have lived through, thrived even, through horrible things in our recent past. That flu epidemic was 100 years ago, a life time for a person, but in the grand scale of human civilization it was merely a blink.

I think what predicates the idea that we are on the precipice of the end of humanity is that it is fundamentally a narcissistic idea, if so far as, that you, and those like you, are the only ones who see how terrible the world is and where it is going. They are the heroes in the narrative that the world was better in the past. People were kinder. More moral and more gentle. That everyone had their place and while there was turmoil and strife it was always overcome by the righteous. Everyone worked hard and had a job.

I am reading (slowly) a book called The Martian. One of the biggest hurdles to traveling in space is the time and resources it would take to even get to Mars. With conventional technology it would take 6 months, even when the planets are at their closest, to reach our crimson neighbor. In 2003 there was a new engine proposed: EM Drive. The science is beyond my ability to summarize but what I did take away is that it would take 10 weeks to get to Mars. 10 Weeks. Substantially faster that what was though possible even a year before that drive was proposed.

I am not going to predict any fundamental or sweeping change in the human condition or quality of life here on Earth. I think change is gradual and ignored. That’s how it sneaks up on us. I do believe that now, despite all of the suffering and hardship, is the best time to be a person. I believe as good as it is now it will only get better. And I know that we have overcome the insurmountable before and we will do it again. If there is one thing we have shown time and time again is that humanity really doesn’t know what’s possible. And if that’s the case I believe that just about anything is possible.

Total War

The easiest definition of “Total War” is the idea that any thing the enemy has is fair game. Infantry, Ships, planes, buildings, schools, hospitals, the wounded, and civilians are all fair targets. The idea of total war against a population is abhorrent but a few days ago I waged total war on one of my oldest nemesis: Fruit Flies.

I have met the enemy on the field of battle.

I have met the enemy on the field of battle.

In early May I treated myself, used my tax return to fly out to Los Angeles so that I could see Age of Ultron with my friend Becky. It was totally worth it on every level. The movie was great (saw it twice that weekend) hanging out in LA and see my old friends was great, and it pretty much cemented the idea that I will move back to the west coast when I am done with the Navy.

When I returned to my house I found at least 3 tiny fruit flies flying out of my toilet. I thought nothing of them. In fact I use a slightly diluted solution of distilled white vinegar to really make the grout in my bathroom bright. Vinegar also attracts flies, they love it. In fact it was the very same vinegar I used last September to stop the last fly infestation. I saw those three and thought nothing of it.

The next few days those three must have called some friends over and had the most freaknasty orgy in the record history of fruit flies because their numbers went from “annoying” to “what the fuck is this shit?” to “ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS!”.

They fucked...ON...the "F" key of my keyboard. DISRESPECTFUL.

They fucked…ON…the “F” key of my keyboard. DISRESPECTFUL.

Annoyed I set traps out. Variations of what worked last time and each one was a failure. I used combinations of vinegar, water, sugar, pineapple and dish soap all topped with a crude funnel. In the next 4 days I tried to lure them to a vinegary grave I caught maybe 8. Each day I adjusted my formula. Add more vinegar, more soap, more pineapple, less sugar, less water. The 8 that I killed must have been the dumb ones who were wall flowers in the fly sexy party happening in my apartment. Mean while the rest were too bust having drinks and chatting each other up next to any light source to notice that a few of their friends died in the pool. When I talk about the numbers I want you to think of a fraternity party in Beijing where women get in for free.

So I decided to pull out all of the stops. I did research, read up on fruit flies and set out more than one trap. Placed some on the top of my refrigerator, on the counter, in the corner. I left lights on to attract them into the same room as the traps. I walked the traps around to get the smell of vinegar in the air. I bought traps from Target, designed to attract and kill them. I woke up the next morning and found a wopping 0 of them had fallen for the bait. I walked out of my apartment and heard them laughing in chorus.

For I asked him his name  "My name is Legion," he replied, "for we are many."

For I asked him his name
“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.”

That night I grew angry as I realized that I had wasted a little over a jug and a half of white vinegar and a bottle of apple cider vinegar on these tiny fuckers. I had thrown out a FULL bunch of bananas, 3 apples and several yams in an attempt to leave my enemy no ground to run to. I took my BBQ fire starter and began to set them on fire. Was I quick enough, agile and dexterous enough to catch them mid-flight and burn them out of the sky? No. Did I leave scorch marks on my ceiling and walls where I burned those little fuckers into oblivion? Yes, yes I did.

I learned that like most flying insects they were attracted to ultraviolet light. So I fastened a 3M hook to a low hanging part of my ceiling and took a wire hanger to allow for my 30 dollar bug zapper to hang freely in midair. Surely this…THIS would work. I told my coworkers about the plan to burn them and the bug trap and she just shook her head and said “You need a woman in your life.”

I disagreed. I don’t need a women. I want money. I want purpose. I want to work for a shadow organization that keeps the world safe. I want an Iron Man Suit. I want to be Batman. I NEED adult supervision.

So I hung the bug zapper in my house for a night. I turned my lights off strategically and corralled most of them into a corner. I heard a single, faint “zap” and smiled as I walked to bed, knowing that I, a HUMAN, had defeated those little flying bastards.

AHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAHAHAH!

AHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAHAHAH!

I knew they were small enough that if they made contact with the big zapper that I would never find the little bodies. I was totally OK with their little bodies being atomized by electricity. I would vacuum the fly underneath and around it later that day. As I went to work I decided wouldn’t revel in my victory and know that I had to go to extreme measures to kill them but I had done it.

When I came home I left the lights on, as the sun went down, and waited to see how many of them were left, if any. The strange thing about fruit flies is that you never see them everywhere until you see them everywhere. I searched my ceiling and quickly found one. My vision refocused and I saw a few more and it refocused again. Now there was more than ever, crawling with a dismissal confidence on my ceiling, bathing in the sot glow of my bed lamp.

I went to sleep at my wits end. I had nothing short of building a small flame thrower to burn them out of the sky. Through the purest instinct, the will to survive and reproduce, they had overcome every natural and technological trap I had set for them. They were clearly no interested in the sweet vinegar pools of death of the glowing blue trap I hung from my ceiling. The only thing I knew that had worked was fire and me going on the offensive. Most things in the modern home are fireproof and it takes effort to burn things in your house. I even burned one of them guys off a paper towel and the paper was fine. It was easier to scorch the paint on my ceiling. I was going to have to buy a bic lighter, a can of axe body spray and some renters insurance and fight the good fight.

I need help.

I need help.

As I went to sleep I look up to my ceiling once more and saw a collection of them sitting on my ceiling like they owned the joint.

In 1993 the UN basically eradicated the use of chemical weapons from modern warfare. Now I am not naive if a nation was desperate enough it would, find or make quickly, and use some of the worst weapons we ever made on an enemy. But you know who didn’t sign that treaty? Me. You know who doesn’t count as people? Fruit Flies. You know who can suck my dick? PETA.

I bought two cans of Raid the next day after work and watched with satisfaction as I poisoned them. I saw up close as they choked and fall from the windows and ceiling in my house. I wiped them up and vacuumed more than once. And the day after that I came home to a pile of flies in my kitchen. The Raid had stuck to my window and when the ones who had not died yesterday had found my window today were poisoned.

Some of them died stuck to my wall or the glass. Stuck in a defiant pose. I began to think about the nature of perception and what is really important in life. I thought about the value of life and how precious it all really was. I watched a fly struggle in its last moments and wondered if it could even begin to consider or understand what was happening. I then opened a window because I realized while I had a spine I was not totally immune to what was ever coming out of the blue spray can.

My Finest Hour

scott_pilgrim_finest_hour_comic_book_cover_wallpaper_01

I didn’t particularly love Scott Pilgrim vs The World but it was entertaining. I do love this picture. It is the cover of the final Scott Pilgrim Book. It was about his finest hour, his best moment. I have been writing in a blog, on and off, for ten years. Exploring what makes me tick and exposing my thoughts, desires and my fears. I teeter between a ethereal and muted self loathing and a brash comic book level of delusional self-confidence and at each apex I feel guilty and ashamed that I have these emotions.

At one end I feel weak and sorry for myself. I imagine myself hurting and disillusioned. I know other people have it way worse and my grass my look a little greener than yours (like everyone’s does) but that doesn’t always stop me from feeling sorry for myself. I grow embarrassed because I think like this and that I want to leave cryptic and insipid Facebook statuses about how hopeless or bad I think everything is.

On the other side I feel my heart beating and I know that I am needed and nothing else matters. The world needs and will always need men like me. I am unfocused, brilliant, vibrant and buzzing around my world. I am also unshaken in the idea that I can what the world needs. I almost hear the music swell and I know that it is now or never.  I am everything that I wish I was.

I am somewhere in between. I think the confidence is a part of my mind/personality that allows me to bounce back. That forces me to bounce back.

I listen to the Cracked podcast (and so should you) and they mentioned that most of our perception about the world beyond our personal experiences is formed by what we see on TV and movies. It sounds dumb but if you think about it there is some truth to it. I always use the example of what people think the military is verses what it really is. The movies get a handful of things correct but most of it is wrong. If only because the truth is often boring. Once I thought about this I realized I expected life to move like a movie despite what I claimed.

I have said before that I don’t think anyone should be looking for someone to save them. There isn’t going to be a manic pixie dream girl to swoop into your life and explain what you have been doing wrong, love you despite your faults and teach you to love again and there won’t be any wise or black men that show you the meaning of life, give you confidence back and teach you to dance.

This trope is basically Mr. Freeman's career.

This trope is basically Mr. Freeman’s career.

I did find myself looking for one defining and heroic moment to prove myself. In the movies, in all the great stories, once this moment is done the screen fades to black and the credits roll. The hero learns his lesson and lives happily ever after. I know after any great moment in your life doesn’t stop the adventure, unless you die. Life just moves forward, with or without you.

I was always looking for that one perfect moment where everything lined up and I had a chance to do or be something really special. I can’t, for the life of me, tell if these moments are as frequent as they seem or am I looking for something that isn’t there. Manufacturing meaning from an empty and aimless nothing that was, at best, casually apathetic about my existence.

I have experienced excellence from others and from myself. Those moments everything was clear, like a bell was struck and the ringing cleared the air and I could see everything. I was magnificent in those moments. I have to remind myself that those moments don’t often appear, fully formed, in front of you. I have to make those moments, work to see past the fear, the doubt and the nervousness.

~ Adam

 

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